RJ Barrett is using his NBA salary and down time during the coronavirus shutdown to help others.
The former Blue Devil was second on the 2018-19 Duke team in assists and is now assisting people in real life in his adopted pro basketball city of New York and his home country of Canada.
Barrett told the New York Post that he’s sheltering in place during the pandemic with in Orlando, Florida, along with his family and his two French bulldogs—Kobe and Kingston.
He’s been watching the news, however, and the Knicks rookie saw how New York hospitals were struggling to cope with the massive waves of COVID-19 patients flooding the ICUs. He was particularly moved by a report from Brownsville’s Brookdale Hospital, located near where his mother grew up in Brooklyn.
So Barrett worked with the Knicks to contact the governor’s office to see what was needed most. They managed to find and purchase face masks, disposable face shields, KN95 masks, gowns and disposable coveralls which are now on their way to hospital in the area.
Even closer to his NBA home, Barrett donated $25,000 to the MSG Relief Fund, which will be used to provide arena workers with assistance to cover healthcare, rent, food and medicine.
Barrett grew up in the Toronto area and has been just as busy helping out in his native country.
He worked with his shoe company, Puma, to provide more than 1,000 pairs to hospital workers in New York and Canada, so they could use their personal shoes at work and have a clean, non-contaminated pair to wear home.
Barrett also made a personal donation of $100,000 to a food bank in Mississauga, Canada (just outside of Toronto), which can buy up to 200,000 meals. Barrett’s personal donation covered almost 12 percent of the food bank’s entire fundraising goal.
"One thing my family has taught me is the importance of being supportive when you can, in any way you can. During these difficult times, we all need to do our part and knowing I have the ability to help ensure people have what they need is important to me," Barrett said in a statement. "I'm happy I can make a difference in the neighborhood I grew up in."
While Barrett can’t be there in person, he’s doing his best to help from a distance in two areas that represent his past and future life.
“I just wanted to get people what they needed,” he told the Post. And it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.”